If you are registered to vote you will receive a poll card shortly before an election. This will tell you where your polling station is, what day the election is being held and other election information. Your polling station is most likely be a school, community centre or church hall near where you live. The poll card is for your information - you do not need to take it to the polling station in order to vote, though it will save time if you do.

How to vote at a polling station

On election day, go to the polling station shown on your poll card, which will be open from 7.00am to 10.00pm. Tell the polling staff your name and address - they will check that you are on the electoral register. Your poll card may help with this.

You will be given a ballot paper listing the candidates you can vote for - and you may be given more than one ballot paper if there is more than one election on the same day. Take your ballot paper into a polling booth, read it carefully, and mark a cross (X) next to the candidate(s) you wish to vote for. Do not write anything else on the ballot paper or your vote may not be counted. Do not let anyone see your vote. When you have marked your vote, fold the ballot paper in half and put it into the ballot box.

If you are unable to vote in person you can apply to vote by post or you can appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf.

Voting by post

If you are registered to vote, you can apply to vote by post if you are unable to attend the polling station to vote. You can apply to have a postal vote for a single election, for a fixed period, or on a permanent basis.

If you choose to vote by post your ballot papers are posted directly to your home address approximately two weeks before the election. It is possible to have your ballot papers delivered to an address other than your home address provided that you state the reason for this.

If you want to have your postal vote sent overseas (for example, if you will be working overseas), please consider the reliability of the local postal service before applying.

When you apply to vote by post, you will need to provide your date of birth and a sample signature. You will be required to provide this same information when you receive your postal voting pack. If you are unable to provide a consistent signature on your application, please contact us on 023 9283 4074 for further advice.

When you receive your postal voting pack, simply mark your vote on the ballot paper, complete the postal vote statement with your date of birth and signature and then post this back to us as quickly as possible. You should complete your postal vote yourself in secret and should not allow anyone else to interfere with your postal vote.

We must receive your completed postal vote by 10pm on election day for it to be counted.

If you wish to vote by post, please note that your application must be received by 5pm on the 11th working day before the election. You can download the form at the bottom of this page. We would advise applying as early as possible to ensure that that you receive your postal vote in good time; you don't need to wait for an election to be announced before applying.

If you apply to vote by post you will not be able to vote in person at the polling station.

Voting by proxy

Proxy voting means you can appoint someone to vote on your behalf.  The person you choose will then need to go to your polling station to cast your vote.

Either you or your proxy can vote, but not both.

If you wish to vote by proxy at the next election, please note that your application (form available to download below) must be received by 5pm on the 6th working day before the election.

We will send your proxy a poll card which will provide the details for your polling station.

If you find out that you cannot get to your polling station after this deadline because of medical or employment reasons, you may be able to appoint a proxy on emergency grounds. Please contact us on 023 9283 4074 for further details. 

Further information and advice on how to vote may be found on the Electoral Commission's website About my vote.

If you have any questions please contact the Election Services Office by phone on 023 9283 4074, or by email at elections@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

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